Bristol Muslims 'facing job discrimination'

Muslims looking for jobs in Bristol are facing possible discrimination, secret filming by a BBC documentary shows.

Two undercover white reporters, one a Muslim in traditional dress, travelled across the city to inquire about 40 jobs being advertised in shop windows.

Ian, the non-Muslim, was more than four times more successful in getting job interviews than Muslim-convert Zoltan.

Faith and Communities Minister Baroness Warsi and an academic expressed concern over the findings by Inside Out West.

Equivalent CVs

Both journalists are from Manchester, they are of a similar age and ethnicity and were given equivalent CVs.

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It does concern me that somebody's opportunities are being curbed because of the religion they appear to follow”

Baroness Warsi

Minister for Faith and Communities

To make his faith clear, Zoltan used the name Mohammed and wore traditional shalwar kameez dress.

As part of the BBC Inside Out West investigation he and Ian applied for the same 40 jobs being advertised in shop windows around the city centre.

Ian's inquiries resulted in 13 interviews and one job offer without an interview. Zoltan was invited to three interviews.

At one café, Zoltan was told CVs were being collected and to assume he had not been shortlisted if he heard nothing further.

But when Ian inquired about the same job 10 minutes later, he was offered a trial shift.

The cafe owner spotted Zoltan in the distance and said to Ian: "See that guy in the hat? Do not tell him I've given you a trial shift on Saturday.

'Better rapport'

"If you bump into him in the street and he wants to talk to you, do not tell him because he's just given me his CV and I told him that I won't be making a decision until next week. So don't tell him."

After contact from the BBC, the cafe manager denied discriminating against Zoltan and said he had more things in common with Ian and had struck up a better rapport with him.

In another inquiry, both men visited a branch of a food retailer to ask about a mix of jobs on offer, including store supervisor.

Ian was given an application form and told there was a dozen store supervisor vacancies within the same chain locally.

Zoltan was told a driver's job, also being advertised, had already been filled and he was then only alerted to upcoming temporary Christmas jobs.

Elsewhere at one fast food outlet, both men inquired about a job being advertised for a delivery driver.

'Opportunities curbed'

Zoltan was told about the pay and job requirements, such as needing a car and clean driver's licence, and he left his CV.

But five minutes later Ian made the same inquiry and was given an application form and told to fill it in straight away.

Faith and Communities Minister Baroness Warsi said: "It does concern me that somebody's opportunities are being curbed because of the religion they appear to follow.

"In this country we have a law which protects against discrimination, individual firms have policies which protect against discrimination.

"We need to make sure these policies are being applied at the grassroots level."

Professor Tariq Madood, director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at Bristol University, believes Muslim men find it harder to get a job.

'Nasty political causes'

He said: "They have to make more applications to get an interview, they have to have more interviews to get a job offer.

"They're more likely to be made unemployed when there is a recession. Muslim men's average wages are very low compared to white men.

"If they can't get work they are more likely to be involved in drug dealing, gang behaviour and, of course, they'd be more likely to be recruited into nasty political causes.

"How can you ask people to integrate and then treat them negatively and exclude them from job opportunities or other opportunities?

"You're really just sowing a division into the next generation and into the future."